On February 18th, Governor Rauner released his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2016 (the budget year beginning on July 1, 2015). His proposal contains no new sources of revenue, not even a restoration of the dramatic cut to the income tax rates which went into effect on January 1, 2015. In order to balance the budget without new revenue, the proposed budget includes dramatic cuts to funding for mental health and related services.
The cuts include:
- $1.5 billion in cuts to Medicaid including cuts to medications for the treatment of schizophrenia and other serious mental illnesses. Since Medicaid is the largest single source of funding for mental health services in Illinois, the proposed cut will be devastating to persons with mental illnesses.
- $87.8 million in cuts to mental health services funded through the Department of Human Services, including:
- $27 million cut to psychiatric services in the community
- $5.5 million cut to state psychiatric hospital services
- $18.5 million cut to care coordination services
- $34.6 million cut to alcohol and substance abuse services
- $14.1 million cut Supportive Housing Services which will effect 3,525 households
- $3.1 million cut to the Homeless Youth Program which will end shelter and services for 1,316 youth
- $1 million cut to the Homeless Prevention Program which will make 955 households homeless.
The Mental Health Summit urges the Illinois legislature to categorically reject these cuts as unnecessary, unwise, and inhumane. They are unnecessary because increasing revenue will allow Illinois to preserve these safety net programs. They are unwise because they will result in a preventable and costly increases in emergency room use, hospitalization, loss of employment and, even, for some persons, involvement in the criminal justice system. They are inhumane because they will cause suffering for many people with mental illnesses and their families and communities.
Mental Health America fact sheet on budget cuts
IARF Analysis of Governor Rauner’s Budget: 2015-02-19 – Snapshot of DD – MH – ASA Budget Request (4)